Recently, a discovery involving Antarctica, its ice layers, and some 70 years ago, atomic bombs tests, alerts the researchers. In Antarctica, nuclear fallout is still being explored. The new research shows how the levels of isotopes are still considerably high. There has been found a chlorine-36 level buried in the snow of Antarctica. The radioactive isotope should not be a worrying thing but was found in excess, and it can be carcinogenic. Chlorine-36 is a by-product of the nuclear bombs which was shot into the atmosphere. Some decades later, and the isotope found its way straight to Antarctica’s ice layers. Researchers discovered it 10 times its normal levels.
Melanie Baroni, a geoscientist at the European Centre for Research and Teaching in Geosciences and the Environment from France, comes in our help explaining the alarming discovery. She stated, “There is no more nuclear chlorine-36 in the global atmosphere. That is why we should observe natural chlorine-36 levels everywhere.” Moreover, she and her team got samples from the snow pit at Vostok, East Antarctica, where a Russian research center is situated. Further on, the team made a comparison of the samples with ones from the same area took in 1998. Their results were alarming because the radioactive field is running towards the exterior. Ms. Baroni said that this wouldn’t go away so quickly in the future. The research, however, might help for other studies.
The Cold War in the US
During the beginning of the Cold War, the US government realized some nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958. They dropped 67 atomic bombs in many places, such as islands and reefs from the South Pacific. The consequences, however, still have a significant impact nowadays.
Chlorine-36 has a half-life of 350,000 years, meaning that over the period ceases, the radiation levels will reach half levels. A report from 2001 by the Health Physics Society reported that “Chlorine is also a very toxic gas, and acute exposures to high levels can cause respiratory distress and death.” Also, it stated that “ingestion of chlorine has been shown to decrease organ and body weights in animals, notably at high doses.” However, chlorine-36 can be used for determining water and ice. Also, by analyzing it, researchers could find out how our planet’s climate changed over the past decades.
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